Full Moon

The original article has been published 1/2/2007.
This week, with the great ATMAN TRIBE Festival rocking the Bay
People ask: What happened to the old FULL MOON PARTIES ( FMP) ?

Due to strict Government rules Arugam Bay does no longer host a proper, traditional Full Moon Party.
But here is the background:

The Full Moon Day or ‘Poya Day’ (like today) is not only a very special day on Koh Pang Ngan, but also has a certain relevance to Arugam Bay.
(btw: the 26th December 2004 also was a Poya Day….)

Whilst famous places like Goa and Thailand are (still?!) much more popular, attracting 10,000 or so followers, the monthly events held in Eastern Sri Lanka are almost certainly much older. If you consider the few 1960’s drop outs who came to worship the Full Moon long ago on our nearby most Easterly point of the island.
Going back in history, an official religion was registered in the Netherlands in 1966.
Critics claim that the ‘Full Moonie’ Sect may have been formed to avoid a clamp down by the local authorities at the time. And thereby followers could continue to enjoy the expression of their prescribed rituals which religious freedom guarantees under most Nations constitutions.

In brief, the founder members believed that the Full Moon possesses a certain power over mind and body. This is often been put into popular movies and there may be some element of truth in it if you observe animal behavior during such nights. The Full Moonies believe this energy should be used to meditate and to try and free ones mind – at least once a month to stay in good health.
In order to achieve this ‘cleaning of all evils’ from ones soul followers are not permitted to sleep until the sun rises. Other religions stipulate similar body control such as not eating during the day light hours etc.
As staying awake alone might prove difficult for some, stimulants and loud music as well as moderate drink (to free the mind) should be provided by the hosts:
So the first FMP was born in Europe.

In the late 1970’s two founding members decided that the open, fresh, ozone air, the open sea and most important an uncluttered view of the sun rising in the East would add to the spiritual experience.
All this proved rather difficult in marijuana polluted Holland due to cold weather. Also there is little in the way of an Eastern Sea front and the Mini European Nation has not too many palm fringed Bays either…
So a piece of land was purchased on the most Easterly point of Sri Lanka – guaranteeing warm weather, no authority interference and a clear infinite view of the open sea (all the way to Antarctica in fact).

In the beginning, just a handful of followers, first only with guitars and song, then with a car battery and mini sound system staged the ritual 12km North or sometime South of the Bay – in total privacy in one of the the open Bays dotted around Arugam Bay.
Like in Okanda Bay, Peanut Farm and Green Room or The Point at the time.
A camp fire is also a must.
Later, mainly keen surfers from Israel joined the sect as ‘free; members and small generators and better sound systems were added.
Often the music style reflected Trance or Techno as well as Ambiance and Psychedelic sounds – to assist in the holy ritual. Soft Chill-out music always followed towards the end of the session, around sun rise (see below) and Reggae was shunned.
This Century has seen a few changes. For the first time the area received mains electricity and a mini, casual police farce. The believers staged bigger and more professional events – all of which are of course to this day open and totally FREE for anyone to attend. Maybe the organizers hope to convert some dull or troubled, or too serious people to experience the benefit of strict physical exercise, like wild dance, which the medical profession agrees is actually very good for you?
(Like in any religion there are always the lazy ones, the hangers on, who abuse required rituals: At a many recent FMP a fair number of guys only tend to exercise their right arms and their bladders….:-) But it is the will to attend which counts.
Maybe one day Arugam Bay will be as popular as Goa?
Or the Thai islands?
Some say the Bay are too far from the airport. But so is Goa and Koh Samui – and it takes even longer to get there from Bangkok.
Rigth now the political situation as well as our law makers are more of an obstacle to gain wider popularity.

Some dwellers are worried of certain “Sound Pollution”.
The organizers answer: It’s only once a month and not 4 times every day, it is good to attract tourists. Full and even half Moonies are actually very high spenders!
And more so it is after all a very serious RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL.
Everyone in the Bay and the Country will see the benefit, also financially, eventually.
What else do we have to attract loads of visitors? There is a lot of stiff competition from much more stable Nations all around us. In every way.
As some see it, there is no difference between terribly loud Church bells, all night Temple Chants or frequent Mosque calls for payers:
Under the Sri Lanka Constitution religious freedom is said to be fully guaranteed. To anyone.
And who is to say what one should be allowed to believe in?
As long as the main principles are to love each other, be a good person and remain strictly non- violent?
Make LOVE – Not War! was one of the old slogans of the Early 60’s…..Has it totally lost its relevance in Ceylon?
In respect to the Buddhist Nation and local law, AbaY parties are never on the actual Full Moon Day itself. The Ceremony or ‘Party‘ finishes officially at sunrise on the morning of the actual Poya day. This is because in Asia this is the moment (about 06:00 am) when a new DAY begins.
In the mind of a converted Full Moonie the DAY does not begin in the middle of the NIGHT. They call it Midnight. In their refreshed mind the rising sun signals the beginning of a NEW Day. Do they have a point??
Flood light Beach SVHUllai Girl Dance Groupcimg0857.JPG

To avoid any possible confusion:
The liberal, happy and relaxed Full Moonies have as much to do with the controversial Korean “Moonies” as Half a Rupee with a Full Schilling:
There is NO connection what so ever with a Unification-, Fornication-, Fortification- or any other Church.
Just to demonstrate, again, scenes from the ancient rituals, taken around MIDNIGHT:

Final Comment:
Some regard it as a miracle. None of the hundreds of FMP guests, organizers or DJ people suffered any kind of casualty or serious injury on Tsunami Poya Day – although the site was of course right on the very sea front, in the worst affected area of Sri Lanka, at Arugam Bay washed out by 15 Meter waves. True Full Moonies regard this as a protection from high above and inspiration to continue the holy rituals.

7 Responses to “Full Moon”

  • Elisabeth has booked and paid for her transfer as below:

    6118 7/8/2015 Friday 18:30 Elisabeth Arugam Bay Airport rtrn 8/8/2015 5:00 UL422 Paid “We would like to be picked up at the Beach View Hotel in Arugam bay.

    The Flight number is UL0422 and the departure time is 7:20 am on the 08\08\2015.
    We are two passengers and we have 3 Surfboards with us.”

  • Hello! Any transport for share to Colombo on Friday? My girlfriend and I want to go to Colombo/Negombo on Friday (better in the afternoon).


  • Here is a link to a “New” report about the so-called “Original” FMP on KPN. In German though. Written by a Swiss…:


  • COOL! I WILL BE THERE! haha.

  • Dear Party Girl Naomi,

    AbHa had scheduled the following dates for our traditional FMP celebrations:

    Tuesday 01 May 2007
    Friday 01 June 2007
    Friday 29 June 2007
    Tuesday 31 July 2007
    Tuesday 28 August 2007
    Wednesday 26 September 2007
    Friday 26 October 2007
    Saturday 24 November 2007
    Monday 24 December 2007

    However, so far troubled 2007 seems differed than expected and hoped for …….
    Let’s say t this way:

    We have the:
    1.) A very Peaceful Bay and approach roads
    2.) Plenty for places to stay
    3.) Enough food, drink & smoke for a few Thousand dwellers
    4.) Good sounds and back drop
    5.) Great locations!

    But we don’t seems to have:
    Any visitors or party animals……like YOU! ;-))
    Watch this space!

  • When are the next Full Moon Party dates at AbaY?

  • Looking at my book on Buddhism:
    “It is the Buddhist symbol of beauty and serenity.
    The harvest moon (a full moon near the September equinox) is a fertility symbol associated with Love and Marriage”

    So there is something in it after all!
    I can’t wait for the September FMP – do we have to book?

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